One thing you should know about Siena’s academic offerings? We are constantly adding new majors to reflect the current workforce and what we know employers are looking for.
Enter… The BS in Business Analytics program.
We caught up with Dr. Joe McCollum, the Learning Assurance Coordinator at Siena’s School of Business and an associate professor, to learn more about it.
What are some of the reasons behind starting to offer a Business Analytics major?
The Business Analytics and Actuarial Science Department (BAAS) looked at the needs of the college and the community. There is a large demand for graduates with analytical skills in our local community, nationwide and worldwide. Our department wanted to serve (one of Siena’s guiding pillars) the students and give them an opportunity to learn critical thinking skills that would support them in any future endeavor.
What kinds of students should consider it for their major?
Any student who wants to learn data driven decision-making. A student who wants the Business Analytics major will:
- Learn critical thinking skills
- Learn the ability to adapt to new techniques, technology and programs
- Learn business analytic skills to optimize output, increase productivity and minimize cost
- Learn how to transform messy, unstructured data into meaningful data sets that will potentially solve a wide array of business applications
- Apply quantitative tools and software to the solution of complex business and organizational problems in manufacturing, marketing, supply chain management and so forth.
Where do you see graduates with this degree going—grad school, straight into the workforce?
The demand for students with analytical skills is growing. A student with our degree will have many opportunities to join the workforce—and in a wide array of business sectors.
What kinds of jobs or positions will this set them up for?
A business analytics graduate will have the quantitative skills necessary to be successful in many job opportunities. Our graduates could work in areas such as business intelligence, market research, supply chain management, project management, forecasting, data-modeling, quality and productive improvement, HR analytics, analytics management or consultancy.
What are some of the courses they'll take, and key lessons/knowledge they'll absorb?
Key Lesson 1: In all of our major courses, a student will learn how to use current technology to solve a wide array of business applications. We’ll instill in the students that ability to adapt to new technology. One must be willing to learn new technology to ensure currency in the quantitative field.
Key Lesson 2: In all of our major courses, a student will learn how to think critically and look for ways to clean/visualize/analyze data to solve many business applications.
Key Lesson 3: In some of our courses in the program, students may complete a capstone project that they will be able to store in a digital folder. Students can then use this folder on their job interviews to explain what they have learned and how technology has helped them solve a wide array of problems.
Key Lesson 4: Students will also learn that business problems are not solved in a vacuum. They will learn the importance of working as part of a team.
Key Lesson 5: In real-life projects, it is generally stated that 60% to 90% of the effort is spent on addressing various issues related to data quality. Students will learn how to detect data issues and develop skills needed to address such issues in a proactive manner.
Key Lesson 6: Students will learn data-driven decision making, including forecasting, to optimize output, improve productivity and minimize cost.
What do you think will make Siena's Business Analytics major different from other colleges' BA programs?
What makes our major different is the synergy between the Liberal Arts Core, Business Core and the Franciscan Value Core that all students take at Siena. This synergy develops our graduates into well-rounded individuals that learn to think critically.
Then, you add in our advanced training in critical thinking, soft-skills and statistics and you have a quantitatively trained graduate who understands ethics and has a solid moral compass.
What are you most excited about with regards to the new major?
At Siena, we want our students to succeed at college and in life. We hope the skills that the students learn in our major will allow our graduates to serve and to lead in their respective fields.